Opinions on type of salary first starting out: anyone work for VetCor?

Jul 11, 2019
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Hello!

I am a fourth year veterinary student, and am in the process of deciding on where I will be working for my first job. I was wondering if there is a certain salary that is better for new graduates to be on versus others? The one facility I applied for is a straight base salary, whereas the other two are base salary plus production. The one that offered a straight base salary is a very good base salary, while the others I would be guaranteed a lower base salary and then make 20% production if I hit the goals I need without negative accrual. With that said- is there a certain salary- either base or base + production that is more suitable for new graduates? I like the idea of a base salary and not having to worry about hitting certain numbers every month, but then the downside of that is if you make more and are hitting what you need you won't get that extra if you are just on a straight base salary.

Has anyone worked for a veterinary hospital that is owned by VetCor? How was your experience with them?
 

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I am generally against any type of production-based pay, and that's especially true for new grads. New grads, no matter how good they are at the medicine of cases, usually have difficulties with client communication and efficiency. You will be the "new guy" at the clinic, and clients will take a while to get to want to see you, and to trust your recommendations because of that (it will be easier if you're older and/or male, but it's still an issue for almost all new grads). Additionally, the amount of production that any vet is capable of bringing in to the clinic is dependent on the efficiency of the clinic, the amount and skill level of staff, the pricing structure, etc. - so I wouldn't recommend accepting any production plan without being able to assess those things, and that's hard for a new grad.
 
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Jul 11, 2019
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I am generally against any type of production-based pay, and that's especially true for new grads. New grads, no matter how good they are at the medicine of cases, usually have difficulties with client communication and efficiency. You will be the "new guy" at the clinic, and clients will take a while to get to want to see you, and to trust your recommendations because of that (it will be easier if you're older and/or male, but it's still an issue for almost all new grads). Additionally, the amount of production that any vet is capable of bringing in to the clinic is dependent on the efficiency of the clinic, the amount and skill level of staff, the pricing structure, etc. - so I wouldn't recommend accepting any production plan without being able to assess those things, and that's hard for a new grad.
Thank you for your input! The one clinic that I am looking into does not expect me to hit that production goal right away, or until several months after. I have worked at this clinic in the past and I know they are efficient, and have the client base where I am not afraid that I would not be able to hit that once I become efficient. The other clinic has a strict base salary, with no option for production bonuses at all in the future, but still does yearly raises. I am in between the two right now as to where I would like to go. The base plus production does not have any negative accrual if you don't hit it. Since I have experience at this clinic, and know how it works- I am less worried about the salary structure.
 
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I was a vet tech for 4 years at the Vetcor hospital that housed the VP of Operations. I can't speak to working as a vet with the corporation, but my time there was fantastic. I really like the company (I worked for another corp that was awful prior). I was paid well for the region I was in, and was given a lot of mentorship opportunities that led me back to vet school. Vetcor gives their practices a lot of freedom to practice the way that the doctors there want to practice medicine, so no two Vetcor hospitals will be the same.
 
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It depends.... I'm in the opinion that base + production is better cuz it allows you the opportunity to make more, but also have a stable income. As far as amount to ask for depends on where the practice is, cost of living, private practice vs corporation, and business model (ie. quality vs quantity). One thing I'll say for sure is that it's definitely an employee's market right now. SO NEGOTIATE! I'll be moving to San Diego in May and accepted a position at a small animal GP my first year out. Negotiated 138k + 10k bonus. Not trying to brag, just sharing information and hopefully give motivation to other new grads to stand up for what their worth. Cuz ya'll are worth a lot peeps.
 

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I mean... I feel like you’re more likely to be underpaid on salary. After my first disastrous job that I left after 6 months, I had a few offers in a crappy job market. I was offered ~85k straight salary from a couple of jobs, and ended up taking an 80k + production job at a VCA. I made I think $130k my first year there. I would have lost out big time had I taken a straight salary job (there was literally no one offering >$100k straight salary at that time). But at the same time, so many things went right for me that allowed me to earn that much, and there’s a lot that is out of your control. I happen to replace a doctor in a busy practice and instantly had a full schedule. The support staff and I hit it off right away, and the front desk genuinely recommended me to clients. I had awesome tech staff that allowed me to see 20 min appts and do it well, even when I was still kind of green. It was a fairly expensive hospital so I produced a good amount per appt.

But, even in the same exact hospital... the person who replaced me dug herself in such a bad production hole due to negative accrual that she took a long time to recover from that. She overlapped with me for a month so she wasn’t very busy initially. I tried to schedule my appts with established patients under her schedule so that I could introduce the clients to her and she could get the production for it, but even then, she just didn’t have a ton booked. For whatever reason the staff didn’t have as much buy in with her, and wasn’t super enthusiastic about booking things for her either. So it can be really risky.
 
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New grad, I'd go straight salary. Takes a lot of pressure off. You can negotiate for production later.
 

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Granted I haven't started work yet so maybe my opinion will change, but after my job search I think it depends on the offers in front of you. It seems to me (and correct me if I'm wrong) that the idea of straight salary being better relies on the straight salary being higher than your base in prosal and/or prosal coming with negative accrual?

But neither of those things were the case for me when I was evaluating offers. I did end up accepting a prosal offer.
 
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For a first job out of school I'd focus on getting a job at a clinic that's going to be a good "fit" with strong mentorship available rather than focusing on highest possible salary.
 
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finnickthedog

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For a first job out of school I'd focus on getting a job at a clinic that's going to be a good "fit" with strong mentorship available rather than focusing on highest possible salary.
Right now, there's no reason a new grad shouldn't be able to find both mentorship (though I'm not sure how well you can actually evaluate something like this before you start working there) and a good salary. This isn't an either/or decision.
 
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Right now, there's no reason a new grad shouldn't be able to find both mentorship (though I'm not sure how well you can actually evaluate something like this before you start working there) and a good salary. This isn't an either/or decision.
If I wanted a sh!t salary straight out of school I’d do an internship
 
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I took a prosal without negative accrual offer at a practice that will have phenomenal mentorship. I agree that mentorship is very important; but salary is equally important based on your loan burden and cost of living.
 
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For a first job out of school I'd focus on getting a job at a clinic that's going to be a good "fit" with strong mentorship available rather than focusing on highest possible salary.
Our VBMA chapter has done a few talks about how our lifetime earning potential is really closely correlated with the first salary you make, so it should still be really important.

Edit for future readers: I don't have access to this talk/study and I dont remember enough to find it now (this was 2 years ago I think), and my brief searches have not drummed it up. The claim above may not be as strong as I made it sound if it is true at all. At the time the speaker was confident enough to tell us to get the highest salary we can out of vet school and move into something that aligns with our goals later.
I don't buy into the idea that salary is more important than your practice goals, but I don't think you should ignore getting a good salary just because it's your first job out of school.
My replies lower in this thread are my conjectures as to where the initial claim may have came from, I don't know the actual details.
 
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Our VBMA chapter has done a few talks about how our lifetime earning potential is really closely correlated with the first salary you make, so it should still be really important.

Why is that? Just curious. Does the same apply for us lowly interns/residents making crap money for 1-5 (or more) years?
 
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Our VBMA chapter has done a few talks about how our lifetime earning potential is really closely correlated with the first salary you make, so it should still be really important.
Interesting. This surprises me quite a bit. Can you elaborate on why that is?
 
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SnowJ

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Why is that? Just curious. Does the same apply for us lowly interns/residents making crap money for 1-5 (or more) years?

Interesting. This surprises me quite a bit. Can you elaborate on why that is?
It's been a couple years since these lunch lectures so I dont remember the details, but I think it has to do with negotiating salary if you change positions. To that end I dont think it mattered as much for interns/residents until your first job outside of internship/residency. [Unless we get into whether you make up the difference in salary those training years but thats a whole other discussion]

Edit to add: I dont remember how a salary that included production bonuses fit into this or changed it
 
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I've worked in 3 practices since graduation and none of them inquired about previous salary, they only asked my expected salary. N=1 obviously, so take that for what it's worth.

That said, my first clinical job out of school I had great mentorship and it was extremely valuable to me.
 
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SkiOtter

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That said, my first clinical job out of school I had great mentorship and it was extremely valuable to me.
And you can still have great mentorship AND a good salary. The times be a changin. Employers are knocking down new grads doors to hire them right now.
 
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And you can still have great mentorship AND a good salary. The times be a changin. Employers are knocking down new grads doors to hire them right now.

Very true! But if someone had to make a choice, I'd say go with good mentoring.
 

Minnerbelle

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Our VBMA chapter has done a few talks about how our lifetime earning potential is really closely correlated with the first salary you make, so it should still be really important.
I feel like that assumes you stay at that first job forever. You can make a huge jump between jobs especially in today’s market.
 

Minnerbelle

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And you can still have great mentorship AND a good salary. The times be a changin. Employers are knocking down new grads doors to hire them right now.
Good mentorship can be hard to come by though. Every freaking employer will tell you they’re amazing mentors or have mentorship available. Honestly, maybe 10-20% of hospitals offer great mentorship...

Obviously a great mentor is one who knows what you’re worth and is going to invest in you and will take the hit on $$ with you possibly not earning your keep initially. And you should NEVER take a lower salary to essentially pay for this mentorship.

But between salary vs prosal starting out, choosing the place with the better environment is going to be much better. You don’t know if you’re going to be underpaid (under both payment schemes) until a good 6-12 months out when you’ll have a better sense of what you are capable of producing.
 
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I agree with all this. Potentially too, once you've been in your mentored practice for awhile, if you know your production numbers, you can take that to your employer and negotiate a higher salary, or try to go prosal at that time.
 

Minnerbelle

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I've worked in 3 practices since graduation and none of them inquired about previous salary, they only asked my expected salary. N=1 obviously, so take that for what it's worth.

That said, my first clinical job out of school I had great mentorship and it was extremely valuable to me.

Agreed, I’ve never been asked my previous salary. The only time I’ve ever brought it up was when I was being head hunted and I liked a lot about the position but their salary offer was so laughably low that I had to say something.
 

Minnerbelle

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I agree with all this. Potentially too, once you've been in your mentored practice for awhile, if you know your production numbers, you can take that to your employer and negotiate a higher salary, or try to go prosal at that time.
Yep, in this environment. If they don’t take you seriously when you do that, they’re really stupid. It’s so much easier to just pay you what you’re worth, than to lose you after you’ve been trained and have gotten even 6 months of experience and be in the position of needing to hire someone again.

One huuuge red flag for me is a practice who won’t let you see your numbers and insists it’s none of your business. It totally is your business. It’s your livelihood. And if they aren’t willing to show you, they are probably cheating you. One caveat here is that you also need to be educated on how production works because it’s not as simple as taking all charges under your name and taking a percentage. Also... you’re screwed on this front if no one ever calculates production at this practice and the staff is very nonchalant about putting charges under the right doctor.
 

SnowJ

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I feel like that assumes you stay at that first job forever. You can make a huge jump between jobs especially in today’s market.
Im pretty sure this included moving between jobs [I think in using previous salary to justify what you are asking for, etc], since it was a survey/study thing instead of just theory, but its been a couple years and I dont remember that well anymore. I mostly bring it up to support the concept of not discounting salary just because it's your first job out of school
 

Minnerbelle

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It seems to me (and correct me if I'm wrong) that the idea of straight salary being better relies on the straight salary being higher than your base in prosal and/or prosal coming with negative accrual?
No I think it has a lot more to do with the fact that there is soooo much that is out of your control in what you get paid if you’re on production. And there is so much you are learning your first year out, that just keeping your head above water trying to develop into a good efficient doctor is all consuming, that you don’t really want to be worrying about what you’re producing. If you’re overproducing, at a level above what you would have gotten paid on straight salary, it’s all honky dory. But if you’re underproducing, it’s not necessarily your fault. And even if it was, willing yourself to earn more is likely just going to make you a bad doctor...

Similar to how you can’t just become a faster surgeon by trying to do each step faster.
 

Minnerbelle

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Im pretty sure this included moving between jobs [I think in using previous salary to justify what you are asking for, etc], since it was a survey/study thing instead of just theory, but its been a couple years and I dont remember that well anymore. I mostly bring it up to support the concept of not discounting salary just because it's your first job out of school
It just doesn’t make any sense because eventually, associates are generally paid based on their production numbers. Even those salaried typically have their salaries adjusted regularly based on how much money they bring into the practice. So it really doesn’t matter much what your starting salary was. Only exception is if you work for a cheap boss on salary and you are never privy to your numbers or they are really stingy about how they calculate production (i.e. they are underpaying you and are determined to continue doing so).

I don’t know anyone whose salary for a new job depended at all on their previous salary. Like I know even recent grads who have been out <1 yr recently be offered 150k salary with 4 weeks vacation in my area, and their starting salaries were average when they got out. In a poor job market where multiple associates are fighting for one job, I can see it mattering. But it simply has not at all mattered in the past 7 years for me or anyone else I know. And I’ve literally switched jobs every 2 years after my first one where I left after 6 months.

Though I will concede that someone who falls for taking a ****ty starting salary will continue to be the same person who will be fine selling themselves short for the next one. So maybe that’s it? But I really don’t think what one takes right now for their initial salary means anything in particular for their next job otherwise. I took a job with a piss poor starting salary. And that never limited how I negotiated my salaries moving forward, and I don’t see that ever limiting my earning potential in the future.
 
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It just doesn’t make any sense because eventually, associates are generally paid based on their production numbers. Even those salaried typically have their salaries adjusted regularly based on how much money they bring into the practice. So it really doesn’t matter much what your starting salary was. Only exception is if you work for a cheap boss on salary and you are never privy to your numbers or they are really stingy about how they calculate production (i.e. they are underpaying you and are determined to continue doing so).

I don’t know anyone whose salary for a new job depended at all on their previous salary. Like I know even recent grads who have been out <1 yr recently be offered 150k salary with 4 weeks vacation in my area, and their starting salaries were average when they got out. In a poor job market where multiple associates are fighting for one job, I can see it mattering. But it simply has not at all mattered in the past 7 years for me or anyone else I know. And I’ve literally switched jobs every 2 years after my first one where I left after 6 months.

Though I will concede that someone who falls for taking a ****ty starting salary will continue to be the same person who will be fine selling themselves short for the next one. So maybe that’s it? But I really don’t think what one takes right now for their initial salary means anything in particular for their next job otherwise. I took a job with a piss poor starting salary. And that never limited how I negotiated my salaries moving forward, and I don’t see that ever limiting my earning potential in the future.
Second all this. :thumbup: It's crazy how much the job market has changed in the last 8 years... I really think you can both get a good starting salary and mentorship now, but good mentorship at your first position is really critical, IMO. Especially if you aren't doing an internship.
 

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No I think it has a lot more to do with the fact that there is soooo much that is out of your control in what you get paid if you’re on production. And there is so much you are learning your first year out, that just keeping your head above water trying to develop into a good efficient doctor is all consuming, that you don’t really want to be worrying about what you’re producing. If you’re overproducing, at a level above what you would have gotten paid on straight salary, it’s all honky dory. But if you’re underproducing, it’s not necessarily your fault. And even if it was, willing yourself to earn more is likely just going to make you a bad doctor...

Similar to how you can’t just become a faster surgeon by trying to do each step faster.

I guess I still don't understand though... because I make my base regardless of whether I produce that much and pretty much every clinic I talked to throughout the entire job search process, regardless of salary structure, acknowledged that they don't expect me to produce that much right away.

So why would I be stressed worrying about production when my base is guaranteed and I don't have negative accrual? What am I missing here?
 
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I guess I still don't understand though... because I make my base regardless of whether I produce that much and pretty much every clinic I talked to throughout the entire job search process, regardless of salary structure, acknowledged that they don't expect me to produce that much right away.

So why would I be stressed worrying about production when my base is guaranteed and I don't have negative accrual? What am I missing here?
You shouldn't be stressed about production if you are salary. That's the benefit of being salary. As a new grad, you can take more time, talk to your mentor, look things up (all the time!!), etc.
 

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You shouldn't be stressed about production if you are salary. That's the benefit of being salary. As a new grad, you can take more time, talk to your mentor, look things up (all the time!!), etc.

The question was why I would necessarily be any more stressed about production on prosal if I make a good base salary and don't have negative accrual. Where is the stress about meeting production supposed to be coming from in that scenario?

Of course straight production would be another thing altogether, but I specifically referenced prosal in my initial comment...
 
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The question was why I would necessarily be any more stressed about production on prosal if I make a good base salary and don't have negative accrual. Where is the stress about meeting production supposed to be coming from in that scenario?

Of course straight production would be another thing altogether, but I specifically referenced prosal in my initial comment...
My only thought would be the risk of being fired. But as a new grad, I don't think that will be a huge concern until we start hitting that 9-12 month mark
 

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I guess I still don't understand though... because I make my base regardless of whether I produce that much and pretty much every clinic I talked to throughout the entire job search process, regardless of salary structure, acknowledged that they don't expect me to produce that much right away.

So why would I be stressed worrying about production when my base is guaranteed and I don't have negative accrual? What am I missing here?
As I said, I was never stressed about it, and was even on production WITH negative accrual early on. I’m personally pro-production because I know I can handle it, and I’m a lot less likely to be shortchanged on production. I’ve always made more than my base on production that I never even thought about it much more than, “[email protected]&$ it’s been soooooo busy!!!! Well, I guess it means I’ll have a fat paycheck at least.”

But i can see how it would be stressful if you aren’t meeting production regardless of whether you have negative accrual or not. If you’re on any sort of production system, you usually get production reports monthly or quarterly or however often you get dispersed production. Even if you don’t NEED to meet production, it can be really demoralizing to know you aren’t earning your keep, even early on, and especially if it continues month after month in your first 6-12 months even if that’s ok with your employer (most employers tell newbies they want you to be up to speed by 6 or 12 months). It just doesn’t feel good to be told on paper you are subpar. Just like how students always feel bad it took them 2hrs for their first spay even though it’s perfectly fine and no one cares. And for a lot of people, it’s hard to not to think/worry about it. For a lot of people in that situation, there is also pressure (either perceived or actual) that if you don’t catch up, this sense that either your base is going to be lowered at some point or something bad may be coming along. Like at some point you will have to earn your keep, so I can see how that might be a little anxiety inducing. And worrying about this isn’t the type of thing that’s conducive to helping you grow. You have a lot of other things to worry about, and hopefully you will naturally start meeting production as you grow as a doctor. If that doesn’t bother you, then there’s really nothing wrong with it.

like I said, I’m personally not against production especially if there’s no negative accrual. But I wouldn’t necessarily choose a job solely based on salary vs. prosal. That’s all. Nothing I’m saying is a disapproval or criticism of your personal choice. Just an explanation of why a lot of people are pro- straight salary for your first job out.
 
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Minnerbelle

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and for full disclosure, my last associate and current relief jobs are both straight salary/hourly and I do get paid less than when I was on production. But at this point in my life there is waaaay more to life and work than money. I only work daytime weekday hours and am home for dinner everyday. I don’t ever work any holidays (major or minor). I just work way fewer hours period, and therefore choose to be paid less.

my success with prosal was that I worked “prime time” (every Saturday full 8hr days, Monday 12hr shifts, and weekday evenings) so I was booming with high ACT urgent cases and devoted clientele. I just don’t wish to do that anymore. I now probably get paid way more than I produce often. I don’t give two [email protected]&s about that, and neither do the clinics that hire me. That’s the beauty of relief work :p

Oddly enough though, the only time I was obsessed with my production numbers was when I was at my last associate’s position where I was paid straight salary. It was a start up and I was the dvm in charge, so I wanted to make sure the practice was doing well.
 
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finnickthedog

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As I said, I was never stressed about it, and was even on production WITH negative accrual early on. I’m personally pro-production because I know I can handle it, and I’m a lot less likely to be shortchanged on production. I’ve always made more than my base on production that I never even thought about it much more than, “[email protected]&$ it’s been soooooo busy!!!! Well, I guess it means I’ll have a fat paycheck at least.”

But i can see how it would be stressful if you aren’t meeting production regardless of whether you have negative accrual or not. If you’re on any sort of production system, you usually get production reports monthly or quarterly or however often you get dispersed production. Even if you don’t NEED to meet production, it can be really demoralizing to know you aren’t earning your keep, even early on, and especially if it continues month after month in your first 6-12 months even if that’s ok with your employer (most employers tell newbies they want you to be up to speed by 6 or 12 months). It just doesn’t feel good to be told on paper you are subpar. Just like how students always feel bad it took them 2hrs for their first spay even though it’s perfectly fine and no one cares. And for a lot of people, it’s hard to not to think/worry about it. For a lot of people in that situation, there is also pressure (either perceived or actual) that if you don’t catch up, this sense that either your base is going to be lowered at some point or something bad may be coming along. Like at some point you will have to earn your keep, so I can see how that might be a little anxiety inducing. And worrying about this isn’t the type of thing that’s conducive to helping you grow. You have a lot of other things to worry about, and hopefully you will naturally start meeting production as you grow as a doctor. If that doesn’t bother you, then there’s really nothing wrong with it.

like I said, I’m personally not against production especially if there’s no negative accrual. But I wouldn’t necessarily choose a job solely based on salary vs. prosal. That’s all. Nothing I’m saying is a disapproval or criticism of your personal choice. Just an explanation of why a lot of people are pro- straight salary for your first job out.

This is fair, but I think highlights the fact that this is a lot more nuanced than just "straight salary is better for new grads".

I was never interpreting it as a criticism of my choices, just trying to understand where the advice comes from because I was often told that straight salary was going to be better starting out and I'm finding that advice may not actually have made the most sense for me.
 
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and for full disclosure, my last associate and current relief jobs are both straight salary/hourly and I do get paid less than when I was on production. But at this point in my life there is waaaay more to life and work than money. I only work daytime weekday hours and am home for dinner everyday. I don’t ever work any holidays (major or minor). I just work way fewer hours period, and therefore choose to be paid less.

my success with prosal was that I worked “prime time” (every Saturday full 8hr days, Monday 12hr shifts, and weekday evenings) so I was booming with high ACT urgent cases and devoted clientele. I just don’t wish to do that anymore. I now probably get paid way more than I produce often. I don’t give two [email protected]&s about that, and neither do the clinics that hire me. That’s the beauty of relief work :p

Oddly enough though, the only time I was obsessed with my production numbers was when I was at my last associate’s position where I was paid straight salary. It was a start up and I was the dvm in charge, so I wanted to make sure the practice was doing well.
I am also only PT and relief at this point. I work for a flat fee for the day and don't need to worry about production. Could I be making more on production? For sure, but I'd much rather work predictable daytime shifts, and that's just a personal choice.
 
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This is fair, but I think highlights the fact that this is a lot more nuanced than just "straight salary is better for new grads".

I was never interpreting it as a criticism of my choices, just trying to understand where the advice comes from because I was often told that straight salary was going to be better starting out and I'm finding that advice may not actually have made the most sense for me.
I think my main point is that, as a new grad, a good mentorship situation is going to be the most critical thing to look for, IMO, rather than a focus on a high salary or being paid on production or prosal.
 

finnickthedog

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I think my main point is that, as a new grad, a good mentorship situation is going to be the most critical thing to look for, IMO, rather than a focus on a high salary or being paid on production or prosal.

I don't think most new grads are making money the only consideration. But it is an important factor. I have loans to pay. I don't need the absolute highest salary I can get, but I can't afford to take a bad salary for better mentorship.
 
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Minnerbelle

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This is fair, but I think highlights the fact that this is a lot more nuanced than just "straight salary is better for new grads".

I was never interpreting it as a criticism of my choices, just trying to understand where the advice comes from because I was often told that straight salary was going to be better starting out and I'm finding that advice may not actually have made the most sense for me.
Never said that. My very first response on this thread was that I benefited greatly from being prosal off the bat with what I consider my first real job. But that it can be risky.

and every other post thereafter was about pros/cons.

kinda like how there’s a reason why every practicing vet tells prevets to pick the cheapest school even though they often don’t listen and don’t like the answer, when the vast majority of replies are consistent coming from practicing vets, there’s a reason for that. When production based pay goes well, it’s totally gravy. When it doesn’t go well (negative accrual or not) there can be a lot of ick associated with it. I’ve seen a lot of angst over it, and I’ve seen a lot of poor behavior over it. Unless you’re in a situation where you’re not thinking about it much because it’s going great, there’s a lot of things that you will start thinking/fretting about that you wouldn’t be if you were on straight production. A lot of people feel this isn’t the type of thing to be focusing on during your first year of practice. Like I said, if that don’t bother you, it doesn’t matter. But I wouldn’t choose one practice over the other because of prosal vs salary. You have no idea which will actually earn you more. Apples to oranges.
 

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Never said that. My very first response on this thread was that I benefited greatly from being prosal off the bat with what I consider my first real job. But that it can be risky.

and every other post thereafter was about pros/cons.

kinda like how there’s a reason why every practicing vet tells prevets to pick the cheapest school even though they often don’t listen and don’t like the answer, when the vast majority of replies are consistent coming from practicing vets, there’s a reason for that. When production based pay goes well, it’s totally gravy. When it doesn’t go well (negative accrual or not) there can be a lot of ick associated with it. I’ve seen a lot of angst over it, and I’ve seen a lot of poor behavior over it. Unless you’re in a situation where you’re not thinking about it much because it’s going great, there’s a lot of things that you will start thinking/fretting about that you wouldn’t be if you were on straight production. A lot of people feel this isn’t the type of thing to be focusing on during your first year of practice. Like I said, if that don’t bother you, it doesn’t matter. But I wouldn’t choose one practice over the other because of prosal vs salary. You have no idea which will actually earn you more. Apples to oranges.
I never said you said that. My initial comment wasn't directed at anyone specific. But you were the one who responded.

For the record, I didn't choose the practice I did *because* it was prosal. But I never considered the prosal a negative either or that I should try to get straight salary instead.

I think it's totally valid to tell new grads to consider these aspects that they might not have and to weigh the pros/cons. But it sounds to me from what you're saying that advice--which again I'm not saying *you* were the one who gave--of "straight salary is always better" is just making the issue very black and white and when it sounds to me like there are both pros and cons to be considered.
 
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I don't think most new grads are making money the only consideration. But it is an important factor. I have loans to pay. I don't need the absolute highest salary I can get, but I can't afford to take a bad salary for better mentorship.

The OP's question, as phrased, is asking the wrong question, IMO. Mentorship is really critical as a new grad and I'd focus on that, instead of salary type.

Hopefully most new grad borrowers are doing an income based repayment plan to take some of the stress off loan repayment.
 
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finnickthedog

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The OP's question, as phrased, is asking the wrong question, IMO. Mentorship is really critical as a new grad and I'd focus on that, instead of salary type.

Hopefully most new grad borrowers are doing an income based repayment plan to take some of the stress off loan repayment.
I hear what you're saying. But while I agree mentorship is another critical thing to consider, the minute you say "instead of" I completely disagree.

IBR will reduce my monthly payment. But I still have to save up to pay taxes on forgiveness. I cannot afford to take a bad salary. And a lot of other graduates are in the same boat.

Not too dissimilar from people who might want to work in a particular area of vet med but find they just can't afford it and end up somewhere else. I would love to have the luxury of just not caring about salary... but that's not reality.
 
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I hear what you're saying. But while I agree mentorship is another critical thing to consider, the minute you say "instead of" I completely disagree.

IBR will reduce my monthly payment. But I still have to save up to pay taxes on forgiveness. I cannot afford to take a bad salary. And a lot of other graduates are in the same boat.

Not too dissimilar from people who might want to work in a particular area of vet med but find they just can't afford it and end up somewhere else. I would love to have the luxury of just not caring about salary... but that's not reality.

I said salary type, not overall salary/pay. Of course, those bills gotta get paid.
 

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I said salary type, not overall salary/pay. Of course, those bills gotta get paid.

Salary type is part of considering salary though. It's important to understand how and what you're getting paid. You can't truly consider salary if you don't understand salary types.
 
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Im pretty sure this included moving between jobs [I think in using previous salary to justify what you are asking for, etc], since it was a survey/study thing instead of just theory, but its been a couple years and I dont remember that well anymore. I mostly bring it up to support the concept of not discounting salary just because it's your first job out of school

This makes like zero sense. You really think all those grads from the 80's have capped out at $40k salaries? I mean a vet I worked with graduated in the 70s and started out making in the $20k range, he's pulling in a whole heck of a lot more than that now, I mean he added in clinic ownership but let's just say I doubt he's anywhere south of $200k a year now.

Even those that graduated in the late 90s/early 2000s have seen their salaries increase a lot.

It just makes no logical sense based on inflation alone. Plus people leave jobs all the time.. some for better pay some for better balance.

I just don't see how your first salary will predict anything about your lifetime earning potential.
 
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I worked salary first year out to not have that stress, and then moved to pro sal after it was clear I could take on more than my share. I liked not having to look at making sure my number got put on the appointments I saw to ensure it went to me. Now I have to watch or it can get put under general if overflow or accidentally under someone else if someone puts wrong number for charges. It gets annoying. lol
 
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Minnerbelle

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It’s also actually hard to really understand how any production based pay works until you’ve been at that particular practice for a while (especially how likely you are to make production, and by how much). Salary is straightforward. You know where your money is coming from and how. With production, how it’s calculated is not the same across the board. And your production is affected a ton by both the clinic policies/procedures as well as the behavior of everyone around you including yourself. I’ve been at some practices where I would get snippets of random rules that affect associate productions and have been like “whaaaaat!? That’s bonkers!!! You’re getting cheated big time! I can’t believe you continue to work here with this policy!!!”

So many seemingly little things can make a big difference in your production! Each of the following can increase or decrease my pay in the order of thousands over the course of a year

Like, how are tech appts handled outside of anal gland expression/nail trims? Does the doctor get production for vaccine boosters? What about heartworm tests? What about more extensive labwork? And if it’s a doctor, is it the doctor who is working appts that day or the one who saw the wellness appt? What about recheck labwork? For some places, the “hospital” gets credited for all tech appts instead of doctors.

Heck, what about any labwork? Who gets paid for it? The doctor who saw the pet and recommended it? The doctor who spoke with the owners about the results? And if the former, is there a rule at this hospital for the timeframe in which labs must be called back or is it whatever is agreed upon by the doctor on the case and client? If all labs MUST be called back the day it comes back, who gets stuck with that and do they get paid for it if the recommending doctor isn’t on?

If you hospitalize any patient overnight and need to transfer the case for another doctor to babysit the next day and discharge, does the second doctor get compensated anything for their time if all the diagnostics, procedures, and prescriptions are already under your name?
What about refills, who gets credit for that (hospital, the doctor who authorizes it, or the doctor who saw the patient last for the problem requiring the medication)? Do you have control over which support staff works with you? How are tasks that don’t result in production of any money handled-especially the time consuming (random client call backs, authorization for outside pharmacies)? Are all preventatives calculated the same? How about prescription diets?

if you’re paid prosal, how are you compensated for filling in an additional day? Just production? Just additional paid time off in addition to production? Or do you get paid what would amount to an “additional day’s worth of salary”? Or do you get paid as if you were relief?

how are “paid days off” like CE days, vacation, sick days, and holidays calculated? Even if there is no negative accrual, you are losing money if the hospital isn’t crediting you your average daily production for the day you didn’t work.

And how do these policies and flow of the clinic affect the behaviors of the doctors, especially if there are some at the same hospital being paid on production/salary/hourly? You’d like to think production pay wouldn’t affect the behavior of any doctor towards their clients or colleagues, but it always does to an extent. For example, in a busy multifoctor hospital where the authorizing dr gets credit for refills, I can easily knock out $1000 of rx refills in half an hour or less if I pick and choose the lucrative ones, and pocket $200 extra money assuming 20% production. Or I can be the team player that tackles the 1800petmeds rx that makes no sense and requires a phone call to the owner that you know is going to be long and unpleasant... takes up maybe even more time and I make $0. If you have doctors in the clinic who are production conscious and habitually take all the easy lucrative tasks and not take much of the time consuming scut work... it does not feel good first of all, and it can literally mean thousands of dollars that they are not sharing with you. At the end of the day, you are losing money for any time you spend performing low earning tasks.

Also, it’s really annoying to need to keep track of making sure charges are being captured under the right doctor.

It’s actually pretty complicated, and it’s hard for anyone to really navigate without knowing the clinic and its financials, and also difficult to compare one clinic from the next as far as how much money you will make on prosal. It’s really apples to oranges. I’m not sure it’s easy for a new grad to assess how and what they’re going to get paid on any production based pay, or how much stress/anguish it will cause. You simply just don’t know until you work there. And there’s no way I would have even known as a new grad to ask half of the questions I now would ask for any clinic offering to pay me on production based pay.
 
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All of this discussion makes me happy that my situation is “evaluate this quota of pathology samples for us each day, take home $Y. And if you want to work extra, you can earn $Z per case you complete over your quota.” I know that’s very different than most people actually in practice can have but it’s nice to know I’m going to have a set amount of work, no more and no less, unless I ask for additional cases. Some days it takes longer to get the quota done than others but I like the predictability.

I think this discussion definitely shows that advice regarding salary and mentorship and what is “right” in a job is not one size fits all and it can take time to figure out exactly what works for you. But luckily right now it’s an associates market and you can shop around for the right fit, no matter what that means to you.
 
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